Silver lining amidst van sector’s supply woes

09 June 2022 #Uncategorised

While we are all looking to put the pandemic behind us, its seismic effects are yet to become a thing of the past, not least in Britain’s van sector.

New figures from SMMT show new van registrations fell for the fifth month in a row in May, as supply shortages continue to hold back deliveries to buyers and fleet operators across the UK.

Although the fall was amplified by comparison with last year – the highest May registrations total in history – there are some 39,209 fewer vans registered year-to-date than in 2021, while this year’s van market also remains -21.5% below the five-year pre-pandemic average.

Demand has remained relatively robust, and van makers are doing their level best to fulfil orders against a backdrop of significant component shortages.

In amongst the troubling figures, there continues to be a silver lining in 2022: electric van registrations were up 62.7% in the first five months of the year, with some 869 new battery electric vans now on UK roads.

This means the overall BEV market share has more than doubled to 5.2%, testament to the growing choice provided by manufacturers, with one in three models now available as a plug-in.

As such, electric vans comprise just one in 20 new registrations and account for around one in 180 in use, keeping Britain on the move with essential trades, construction and home deliveries.

There is much more to be done, and while there are many challenges affecting the UK economy, transitioning its van sector to Net Zero cannot be put on the backburner.

BEVs now comprise 14.0% of new car registrations, and vans share the same 2030 end of sale date as cars, so there is a lot of catching up to do.

As SMMT’s latest survey of van buyers highlighted last month, now is the time for an electric van plan that will increase van buyers’ confidence in switching to electric.

Nearly six in 10 existing van owners said more public charge points and incentives such as reduced tax or grants would encourage them to switch to an EV.

A national ‘van plan’ that would guarantee binding targets for infrastructure provision is a clear way forward to give the sector a significant boost.

The proof is in the pudding that manufacturers are bringing more electric vans to market and delivering on the UK’s ambitious Net Zero targets, while there is growing interest from van buyers, with many need of more confidence to invest. We need all stakeholders to play their part, particularly in the face of global supply chain shortages, with a flexible, joined-up, collaborative approach.

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